Is Norway Expensive? Here’s How to Visit Norway on any Budget

A mother and daughter shopping for traditional souvenirs in Norway.

Is Norway Expensive? Here’s How to Visit Norway on any Budget

A mother and daughter shopping for traditional souvenirs in Norway.

Norway is known for vafler (heart-shaped waffles) and Vikings, but it’s also a popular destination thanks to the country’s striking natural beauty, rich culture and one-of-a-kind experiences. In a week in Norway, you can experience immersive cultural events, delicious traditional foods, alpine skiing, fjord cruises and much more! 

With the striking landscape, popular attractions, and many things to do in Norway, you might wonder, “Is Norway expensive to visit?”

In this article, I’m sharing insights into traveling costs in Norway. Plus, tips for budgeting and getting the most out of your spending on your trip so you enjoy a stress-free journey and bring home plenty of souvenirs!

Whether you’re curious about the average costs of public transportation, dining out, or popular activities in Norway, I’ve got you covered.

Join me on Patreon for more Norway travel tips and exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, videos and more!

 

Pål walking across a bridge with a mountain view in Norway.

Let’s explore Norway together!

 

How expensive is Norway?

Norway is the perfect destination for both budget-friendly travelers and luxury experience seekers alike. The amount of money you can expect to budget for your trip to Norway depends on factors like…

Will you use public transportation or rent a car?

Will you stay at an upscale hotel or camp in the wilderness?

Will you eat at restaurants more often than make your meals?

 

Let’s look at the average traveling costs in Norway, no matter your budget!

 

Transportation costs in Norway

 

Pål waving from a bus in Oslo, Norway.

Public transportation in Oslo is a reliable and fun way to explore the city.

 

Many Norwegians rely on public transportation to get around—there are plenty of options, like buses, trams, trains and ferries. Depending on the length of your stay, you can buy a one-day ticket or a weekly travel card, which is the more cost-effective option. 

If you’re making your way around Oslo, you can expect fares to start at roughly 40 NOK (4 USD) for adults. Children up to six years of age ride free. There are discounted fares for children between the ages of 7 – 17 and seniors 67+. You can find the latest routes and ticket pricing on Ruter

If you need help navigating Oslo’s public transportation system, visit a local tourist information office or watch my video below!

 

 

For the best price, I recommend buying long-distance train and bus tickets a few months ahead of time! Tickets can sell out on popular train rides and fjord cruises, so booking early is best. You can easily book your train ticket online at VY. Traveling by bus? Book your bus tickets at NOR-WAY.no

If you’re traveling across Norway (and Scandinavia), check the current routes and fees at Entur.

Using a taxi service, Uber, or renting a car are pricier travel options. If you rent a car, remember that public parking fees apply most days and times of the week. 

Also, keep in mind that roads in Norway are commonly funded by road tolls, so expect to pay toll fees, especially in bigger cities. And if you’re driving on the west coast, you’ll pay a ferry fee when crossing fjords (you’ll get some pretty epic views!).

 

View of the mountains from a fjord ferry in Norway.

View from a fjord ferry in Norway.

 

Accommodation costs in Norway

 

Image of the front of Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus, Norway.

Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus, Norway.

 

From upscale hotels to laid-back vacation rentals, there are plenty of options for places to stay in Norway.

A hotel stay in Norway averages 1,500 – 1,700 NOK (143 – 162 USD) per night for a standard 3-star accommodation (note that, like other destinations, prices fluctuate a lot during peak season or for popular local events). Get the best deals by using travel rewards and points or booking through booking.com. Reserve your stay early, as hotels can book up quickly!

My go-to for a budget-friendly and comfortable hotel stay is CityBox Hotel, available in Oslo, Bergen and Kristiansand.

 

Image of a standard room at CityBox Hotel in Oslo, Norway.

A standard room at CityBox Hotel in Oslo.

 

If you’re on a tight budget, consider a hostel stay or a vacation rental, which can be as low as 600 – 800 NOK (57 – 76 USD) per night. You can find great deals on hotels and vacation rentals at booking.com.

Or, if wild camping is more your thing, Norway offers plenty of beautiful campgrounds that are free or low-cost. Explore different campsites in Norway.

 

An image of a red tent near the lake at sunset.

Camping in Norway comes with exceptional views!

 

Dining costs in Norway

Like anywhere, meal prices in Norway vary based on the type of restaurant you choose. From street food delicacies to upscale dining, there’s something for every budget (and appetite)!

According to Numbeo.com, you can expect to pay around 200 NOK (19 USD) for a meal at a budget-friendly restaurant. Or, around 1,000 NOK (94 USD) for a 3-course dinner for two at a higher-end restaurant. 

Keep in mind that alcohol prices are fairly high in Norway. For example, at a restaurant, a pint of beer costs about 110 NOK (10.50 USD), and a bottle of wine about 500 NOK (48 USD). But tap water is free and safe to drink!

You don’t have to eat at restaurants for every meal! Many grocery stores offer a wide variety of do-it-yourself meals.

Pick up a few fresh items and make a veggie pasta salad or sandwich, like a smoked salmon and snøfrisk (spreadable goat cheese) sandwich. Or, one of my favorites, Rekesmørbrød, an open-face shrimp sandwich

 

Image of Rekesmørbrød, an open-faced shrimp sandwich and Norwegian favorite.

Ingredients for Rekesmørbrød, a delicious open-face shrimp sandwich and Norwegian favorite!

 

Many Norwegians make matpakke, a packed lunch. Ask your hotel if they offer this—some do for an additional price. Cafés are another great lunch option and they’re where you’ll find vafler (you can also get them at waffle joints).

 

Image of vaffel, Norwegian waffle, with a cup of black coffee.

My favorite way to eat Vafer is with a few slices of brown cheese!

 

For grab-and-go options, there are many popular kiosks, like Narvesen, Deli de Luca and 7-11. They all offer budget-friendly options, from sandwiches to salads and pastries.

In the summer, many Norwegians enjoy an afternoon BBQ at a public park. Why not join the local summer tradition and do the same? You can pick up pølser (hot dogs) or lompe (potato tortillas), two favorite summer foods in Norway. And don’t worry, you don’t have to pack your BBQ in your luggage! Supermarkets in Norway sell disposable grills, called engangsgrill, which is a lightweight grill perfect for your sunny picnic!

 

Pål eating polser, a Norwegian hot dog, in Bergen, Norway.

Enjoying a pølser (hot dog) in Bergen!

 

What about tipping in Norway? Although tipping in restaurants is welcomed in Norway, it’s not necessary like in North America. 

However, it isn’t uncommon for both locals and tourists to leave a 5-10% tip according to how happy they are with the food and service (of course, no tip is okay if you’re not happy with the experience). There’s no need to tip in cafés unless table service is included.

 

Activity costs in Norway

From culture to adventure, there are plenty of free and low-cost activities across Norway.

Outdoor activities, like a multi-day hiking excursion, a family ski trip and a relaxing fjord cruise, can be budget-friendly options, depending on the length of the journey. For example, if you plan to hike over a week, you can camp and make your meals to keep costs low. 

There are also plenty of other things to do, like visiting museums, art galleries and landmarks. Two of my favorite museums in Oslo are Fram – The Polar Exploration Museum and the National Museum. Don’t forget to check for discounts or free admission days before booking your tickets!

 

 

An infographic featuring information about the cost of traveling in Norway.

 

 

Traditional souvenirs in Norway

Of course, you must bring a traditional Norwegian souvenir home to remember your time in Norway!

Popular and inexpensive items that don’t take up much luggage space are classic Christmas decorations, like Norwegian nisse (gnomes), trolls and tealight lanterns.

Other Nordic collectibles include licorice (love it or hate it!), brown cheese with a traditional cheese slicer, or chocolate—Freia and Nidar are two popular brands!

You can splurge on local art or handmade silver jewelry if your budget allows.

 

Tips for touring Norway on a budget

Whether your travel budget is big or small, you can do a few things to make sure you don’t overspend while traveling in Norway.

  • Set a daily spending limit
  • Track your expenses
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost activities, events, and attractions
  • Use discount cards or membership reward points for transportation, accommodation, and sightseeing
  • Combine eating out with street food or do-it-yourself meals at supermarkets
  • Pick up Rick Steves’ Scandinavia Guidebook, which includes helpful tips on getting around and making the most of your trip—plus, it features contributions from your trusty Norway expert, me!

 

Budget, but have fun too!

Thinking about your budget before you go will help you have a stress-free and fun trip to Norway!

Set a realistic budget to avoid unexpected expenses when planning your transportation options, dining experiences, and indoor/outdoor activities. Of course, if you can have a little wiggle room in your budget for a surprise or two, that helps, too.

If you need help planning your Norwegian adventure, I’m here to help! Book your tailor-made tour plan today so you enjoy the perfect trip to Norway—no matter your budget!

Your friend in Norway,

Pål

Pål of Norway With Pål

Pål of Norway With Pål

Norway native, veteran travel guide, sailor, filmmaker, and writer (you might have seen me in one of Rick Steves’ guidebooks!). I want to help you enjoy Norway the right way — like a local. Learn more about me.

DISCLAIMER: Products on this page may contain affiliate links, and I might make a small sum per purchase. For you this does not affect the product price, but supports me and my work, and makes me able to continue sharing my passion for Norway with you. Read the Disclaimer policy. Thank you, tusen takk!

2 Comments

  1. Beth and Tom Hansen on April 11, 2024 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks Pal for the great information and wonderful pictures in Oslo! Such terrific memories of our travel with you!!

    • Pål on April 11, 2024 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Beth and Tom! Nice to see your names in here. Glad you like the article, and TUSEN TAKK for the donation 😀

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